The first privilege of this kind was given by Pope Honorius I, in 628, to the old Irish monastery of Bobbio, in Upper Italy (Jaffé, Regesta Pont. It thus came to pass that not only individual monasteries, but also entire orders, obtained exemption from the authority of the local ordinary.
Moreover, from the reign of Urban II , the broadly general "protection" of the Holy See ( libertas Romana ), which many monasteries enjoyed, came to be regarded as exemption from the authority of the bishop.
The very name Edomite, given to the descendants of Esau (Edom), has served to perpetuate the remembrance of the circumstances attending Esau's birth and the sale of his first birthright.
Finally exemption can be original ( exemptio nativa ), when the respective church or monastery has always been free and distinct from the later diocesan organization. Exemption ceases by the complete or partial withdrawal of the privilege by the giver, by customary exercise of a contrary usage, or by extinction of the rightful subject of the privilege.
Another kind of exemption applies to bishops, when released from the authority of the metropolitan, either at their own request or as a gracious act on the part of the Apostolic See, under whose direct control they are then placed.
About the beginning of the nineteenth century, however, many monasteries were suppressed by the process known as secularization, in part accepted by the Holy See.
In some countries more recent civil legislation does not permit exemption.
From the twelfth century, it may be said the exemption of orders and monasteries became the rule.